Day 10: Ring
This is not just a ring. It is a badge of honor. It is icing on the cake, the period to an extraordinarily long and challenging sentence.
One day when I was out and about, I happened upon a little mom and pop jewelry store called Antrobus Designs. I poked my head in, because I had time to kill. In this little strip mall, sandwiched between a Subway and a pizza place, I found a man who makes the most exquisite handmade jewelry.
The cases were filled with jewelry like I had never seen before. Artistic, unique, delicate, breath-taking.
I visited with the owners, Peter and Melissa, many times over the next few months. They are lovely people. I learned about their daughters and their leaky roof and I saw the love and effort that goes into a piece of handmade jewelry.
Even though we were living paycheck to paycheck, I decided that I would ask Peter to make me a piece of jewelry. I knew by then that I wasn’t going to become a professor, and I felt that I needed something to commemorate the time and energy I had spent working to achieve my goals. I squirreled away Christmas and birthday money and started dreaming.
We chatted and he sketched a ring with seven brightly colored sapphires–one for each year of my life that I devoted to my Ph.D.
Did you know sapphires aren’t just blue? They are pale pink and magenta red and yellow and many different shades of blue.
I plunked down a deposit and Peter started working on it. It was such an exciting process. I tried it on several times in a raw form, then he let me choose the stones.
It was ready early, but I wouldn’t allow myself to pick it up until my dissertation draft was done. The day I went to pick it up, I remember holding my breath when I slipped it onto my hand.
I still look at it with absolute awe. I run my fingers over the smooth edges and marvel that someone made this. Peter made this, from scratch. From a lump of white gold, he sculpted and carved out each delicate circle. Nothing was stamped, there were no machines to speed things up, no mold to help with sizing and similarity.
It’s such a romantic idea, that he made this one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry for me. There is not another one like it. Gah. I swoon even today.
Someday, I would love to go back to Antrobus Designs and ask Peter and Melissa to redesign my engagement ring. They are everything a jewelry store should be–personal, skilled, genuinely interested in bringing your creative vision to life.
I wear it with great pride.